For 9-months I had been obsessed to take my own life.
Until shortly after my 25th birthday when a half dozen of us from my Squadron were sent on a brief NATO assignment. I asked permission to stay behind at Kaufbeuren Air Base.
With that permission, I made my way into Germany alone, knowing nothing of the language or the grid, for the sole purpose to face the man whose words violated me; completely altering my life story.
How I hated him for his acts that changed the course of everything I thought I knew. My depression escalated all-consuming out of control.
Because of hate.
And it was for THAT reason, my heart knew it needed to ask for his forgiveness.
So there I was alone and in Germany, the entire journey before, during, after, intense. Walking up the hill in the churchyard toward a man I never met, he looked straight at me speaking, “I know who you are”.
We continued up the hill together as he walked me to his office where my first suffering words were, “Please forgive me….”
We were both startled by the sounds of my voice and, in peripheral vision, mountains moved!
He also asked for forgiveness. And we held onto each other, as Christ would. Feels as clear as today.
That same Sunday I stepped forward in his church to be baptized by him, the pastor.
It was Palm Sunday. A time of resurrection.
That is the last time I hated anyone. And also the reason why not!
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When I returned home, I asked mother’s permission to change my name to reflect the bedtime story she told us growing up with the moral, “If you’re Share’n and Care’n, you’ll have a Rich and fulfilling life”…. reflecting the names of her three children.
It saddens when folks make light of my name as a trivial nickname for my work.
My decision was to honor my mother’s legacy, and her foresight. It is the cross I carry reminding ME that life would never be the same.
Who do you need to forgive to rise again?!